Are You Walking In God’s Image?
Posted by Job on August 17, 2008
Genesis 1:26 – 27 states that man is made in the image of God. What precisely does that mean? I cannot say that the full meaning or implications of that verse has ever been explained or understood. However, we do know from 2 Corinthians 4:4 and from Colossians 1:15 that Jesus Christ, our high priest and mediator, is the penultimate fulfillment of Genesis 1:26-27 par excellence. So, the duty of Christians then is to concentrate on being Christ – like. We have to first obey the commandments of Jesus Christ. We have to second exhibit the fruits of the Holy Spirit (Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-control) so that we will emulate Jesus Christ’s nature and character. Third, we are to study our Bibles so that we may know how to accomplish these things. And fourth we must live these things out with good works and in daily interactions with other people, both saved and unsaved. Do these things, and we are the image of Jesus Christ, and through Him we vicariously share and participate in His being the image of God for us. In other words, if we through faith and obedience keep John 14:21, we are like Jesus Christ, who is like God according to 2 Corinthians 4:4 and Colossians 1:15. Thereby Genesis 1:26 – 27 is fulfilled in us.
But what happens when we fall short? Well, let us consider “image” to mean “reflection” as in a mirror. If we are faithful and obedient through Jesus Christ, His love, righteousness, and glory will reflect off us for all to see. As a result, those who love and respect God will accept us on the account of the image or reflection of Jesus Christ that we show them. By contrast, those who hate and respect God will reject and persecute us for that same reason! But what if we are in a sinful state of pride, rebellion, lasciviousness, and disobedience? Well, that sin will coat and cover our mirrors and stain our glass until it reaches the point that we no longer reflect the light of Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world and to people who desperately need His gospel. God will know that there is a mirror underneath that filthy grime and corruption, but to the world and even to other Christians, you will be no different from those who walk in and belong to darkness. Because of your sin and rebellion, you will be a useless vessel, powerless to help anyone else or advance the kingdom of heaven. You will be in the same position as the prophet Jonah, who instead of preaching the word of repentance to the lost Ninevites was asleep in a sinking ship.
But there is more than simple sin and disobedience in the lives of Christians that coats our mirrors with iniquity. No, there is also heresies, false doctrines, and the like. The effect that those have on us … well have you ever been to an amusement park, circus, or carnival, and gone inside the attraction that has all of the mirrors? Have you gone before those mirrors and seen the ones that bend, twist, magnify, and contort you all out of shape? Well if you are rejecting sound doctrine for strange movements and speculations, then that is the image of Jesus Christ that you are projecting into the world, one that is not of the Bible, one that does not save souls and heal hearts. Whether it is legalism, denial of Trinity, works, worship of Mary and other idols, syncretism, political Christianity, doctrines that make God impersonal, doctrines of mysticism or special/personal revelation, or doctrines that make God into man’s servant, if you reject the contents of the Bible for myths and fables, then you are broadcasting an image of error, falsehood, and confusion into the minds of people that desperately need the truth.
So Christian, are you showing people the image of God today? Or are you displaying to the world images of darkness and distortion that do not reflect the very same good news by which you were saved? Seek the Lord in prayer and scripture so that you may discover the answer according to your own works.